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Submitted: 08-16-2013 by Rick Westlake
I wanted this kayak to use as a dinghy/tender for solo sailing. I'd gone through a couple of other choices ... my old Perception Keowee (which I swamped the first time I tried to get back up on board my sailboat), a Saturn KaBoat (which is too wide to use as a kayak - and the seat is too high - but it's a decent rowboat, after you spend all the time and effort inflating it) and a Sevylor Tahiti (sloppy-floppy inflatable that paddles half-ass-decently with a kayak paddle).
First PLUS: The package is LIGHT! The kayak comes boxed, strapped-up with a carrying handle instead a case; two heavy-duty straps with Fastex buckles that snap around the folded kayak, and an adjustable shoulder-straps joins them. Basic and light and convenient!
The TK-1 is reinforced properly, with PVC tubes inside a waterproofed-nylon hull and tubes. It's easy to inflate - I have a West Marine double-action pump, and it took 30 double-strokes to inflate the floor TIGHT and 35 double-strokes to pump up the port & starboard tubes. One thing I'll note - you might need silicone grease on the threads of the Boston valves, at least the first time.
The boat was stable and non-tippy as I climbed down the swim-ladder and boarded it. I could have done better, if I'd tied the amidships carry-handle to the boarding ladder in the first place; but it worked, that's the main thing!
It's stable and roomy enough that I was able to rise to my knees, to climb back up the swim-ladder and board my sailboat again. It was also stable and comfy in the wake of a power boat that was buzzing around the anchorage as if he wanted to make us all seasick.
It doesn't track as well as a hard kayak, but that's hardly surprising! There is a directional fin back aft, but you're still going to have to take short "stabbing" strokes with your paddle to keep this boat going reasonably straight. Once I got the feel of that, I was quite satisfied with it.
Two regrets - I didn't take my GPS along to check my paddling speed. And I didn't try "falling out of it," to see whether or not I could recover from a capsize. But it takes up only a little room in the lazarette of my sailboat ... it inflates quickly and deflates even quicker ... and it's enough kayak to get me from my anchorage to the shore, and to bring back drinking water and ice and beer so I can keep on trucking!
(Does this make me a fellow Airhead?)
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